“Local” is nothing new to residents of the Pacific Northwest. But as the practice of supporting nearby farms and food products grown close to home gains in popularity nationwide, one thing is clear: the Pacific Northwest is clinching its role as a leader in supporting local production at a rate three times higher than the rest of the nation.
According to a new survey of 1,000 Oregon and Washington consumers conducted by NSON Opinion Strategy and commissioned by West Coast poultry producer Foster Farms, Pacific Northwest consumers have an unwavering preference for locally-grown foods with 92 percent saying it is important to purchase foods “Grown in the Pacific Northwest.” Fifty-nine to 79 percent of Pacific Northwest (PNW) consumers say they “often” or “always” purchase fresh, local foods (79 percent – milk, 75 percent-produce, 68 percent-poultry and 59 percent-meat).This is in stark contrast to the national average revealed in a 2010 survey by Yale and George Mason universities which found that just 26 percent of U.S. consumers “often” or “always” purchase fresh, locally-grown foods.
The Foster Farms survey also revealed that more than one-third of Oregon and Washington consumers are more intensely devoted to local foods now as compared to last year, with the most important of these foods being poultry (81 percent), second only to milk (84 percent). Survey respondents agreed that they go the extra mile to seek out local foods at multiple stores and markets, referring to themselves as “modern day foragers.”
“Consumers in Washington and Oregon demand the best, local foods because they feel they are fresher, better quality, safer, good for the environment and good for their community,” said Ira Brill, director of marketing for Foster Farms, which works with 32 independent family farms across Oregon and Washington to produce its Pacific Northwest grown chicken. “At the same time, the majority of shoppers are unaware that some so-called ‘fresh’ foods, including poultry, could take more than four days to reach grocery store shelves and are often from out of state. In fact, we learned from the survey nearly half of respondents said they would refuse to buy fresh poultry if they knew it took longer than 48 hours to be delivered to their store.”
Additional survey findings include:
- More than 80 percent of PNW consumers believe they differ from the rest of the nation because they prefer local foods (86 percent), are more conscious of environment/farm practices (81 percent) and are connected to local farms (81 percent).
- Respondents believe that freshness (92 percent), independent family farms that care (89 percent), higher quality (75 percent), healthier (75 percent) and greater variety (50 percent) distinguish PNW grown foods from foods grown elsewhere.
- More than 60 percent of PNW consumers agreed that the PNW has a larger bounty/more fresh, locally-grown foods than other parts of the country and believe locally-grown foods are higher quality, better tasting and healthier than foods grown out of state.
- A third of respondents were unaware of, and more than half responded negatively to, the fact that nearly half of fresh chicken sold in grocery stores is shipped from states outside Oregon and Washington from as far away as the South. More than 43 percent of respondents would refuse to buy fresh poultry if they knew it took longer than 48 hours to be delivered to their store.
- Nearly 60 percent of consumers would be willing to devote one day per week to preparing and eating only PNW-grown foods.
“This study confirms what we have learned in other research,” said Brill. “Pacific Northwest consumers prioritize freshness, food safety and environmental standards and know that local producers do the best job meeting their needs.”
Foster Farms has launched a new communications program devoted to its chicken production in the Pacific Northwest. The program includes new television advertisements featuring the fan favorite Foster Imposters on location in the Pacific Northwest and a print campaign highlighting Foster Farms’ partnership with independent family farms. The brand will also be featured at several popular Pacific Northwest community events. Foster Farms has been raising chickens in the Pacific Northwest since 1987. The company, still family owned and operated by the Fosters, partners with 32 independently-owned family farms throughout Oregon and Washington to ensure the timely, fresh delivery of its fresh chicken to area grocery stores in 48 hours or less. All Foster Farms chicken grown in the Pacific Northwest is carefully packaged and processed in Kelso, Washington.
“For nearly three decades, Foster Farms has been producing chicken for Oregon and Washington families and customers right here in the region,” added Brill. “Our commitment to local production means our chicken arrives fresh, quickly and in optimal condition, while providing local jobs to area farmers and employees for the vitality of local economies.”
About Foster Farms
Since 1939, West Coast families have depended on Foster Farms for premium quality chicken and turkey products. Family owned and operated, the company continues its legacy of excellence and commitment to quality established by its founders, Max and Verda Foster. The company specializes in fresh, all natural chicken and turkey products free of preservatives, additives or injected sodium enhancers. Since 1987, all Foster Farms fresh chicken sold in the Pacific Northwest has been grown locally. The company works with 32 independent family-owned farms in Washington and Oregon within close proximity to major Pacific Northwest cities and towns, and Foster Farms’ fresh chicken is delivered fresh to the store in 48 hours or less. Foster Farms also produces delicious pre-marinated, ready-to-cook and fully cooked products that meet the quality and convenience needs of today’s home cooks, retailers, warehouse clubs and foodservice customers. The company’s commitment to excellence, honesty, quality, service, and people is a source of great pride, and, a longtime family tradition. Visit www.fosterfarms.com/pnw for more information.